This world. This place. This life.

Like sandpaper on wood


Life in Alaska is hard on the soul, like sandpaper on wood.

After a long string of weekend snowstorms, the weather finally cooperated today, and I headed north to Anchorage to the UU fellowship. It was wonderful to see the faces of friends, after a long stretch of only connecting online.

Blue skies and sunlight also lifted my mood. On the way home, I slid the cover back on the sunroof, letting in as much light as possible.

The Seward Highway between Anchorage and Girdwood runs along the Turnagain Arm (pictured above).  It’s an incredibly beautiful drive, no matter the weather. Even when it’s gray and gloomy, there’s a moody quality that’s spectacular in its own way.

But today the sun was out, and everything sparkled with light.

Until I got to Girdwood. As I turned left onto Alyeska Highway, away from the water and into the valley, I pulled under cloud cover, and blue skies turned gray.

It’s like that a lot.  Sun along the Arm & in Anchorage, clouds and precipitation here in Girdwood. It is a rainforest, after all.

But I could feel in my body how the light felt––and then the absence of light.

It’s been a snowier-than-usual winter. Even in Anchorage they’re approaching the record.  Here in Girdwood, the resort reports that we’ve had 734.9 inches of snow since the beginning of October.

Obviously, when it snows, there are no blue skies and sunshine (well, usually).

So how do we cope? Frankly, there are moments when I have to admit that I don’t cope very well at all.

But today, this is how I feel about it:  Life in Alaska is hard on the soul, like sandpaper on wood. Just as sandpaper is abrasive, but leaves a beautifully smooth surface, so Alaska abrades and shapes the soul, exposes its grain, lays bare its beauty.

(Photo by Alaskan Dude, used under a Creative Commons attribution license)


4 thoughts on “Like sandpaper on wood

  1. I just emailed my daughter that I feel homesick. What is it about Alaska that gets under your skin? Really enjoying being a Florida snowbird, but made the mistake of watching an Alaska program on TV and feeling a little remorse. I’ll be glad to get back in time for a beautiful summer.

    • I know what you mean. Sometimes I’m afraid that Alaska has spoiled us, made it difficult to live elsewhere. Given that all the UU jobs are elsewhere, that’s a problem!

  2. The Earth represents the feminine principle.
    Her color is green and blue.
    The animals are deer and dolphin
    She is the gateway to sustenance:
    The feminine surface of our earth,
    Whether solid ground or cleansing waters,
    For its beauty and abundance,
    Is both the object of our gratitude and concern.
    Even if we cannot comprehend the Creator,
    We must still revere the Creation.

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